Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Symptoms in the Words of Young Adults with Schizophrenia

  • You do not feel like doing anything.
  • Your family says you do not look good.
  • It’s so hard to look at people – make eye contact.
  • You feel tired all the time.
  • It’s hard to keep a conversation going.
  • Anxiety
  • Disorganization of thoughts and life
  • Concentration problems
  • Hard to concentrate on homework
  • You get fat.

When I hear the symptoms expressed in these words, I understand why my son wouldn’t come out of his room, wouldn’t see his friends, couldn’t study without taking amphetamines and couldn’t keep a conversation going beyond a few sentences around meals. I feel terrible now that I didn’t understand what he was experiencing. He kept trying to convince us that things were normal and ok.

Negative Symptoms

Negative symptoms are the lack of important abilities. Some of these include:

  • the inability to enjoy activities as much
  • low energy
  • a blank, blunted facial expression
  • having less lively physical movement
  • low motivation
  • difficulty initiating activities
  • inability to make or keep friends or not caring to have friends.

It was the negative symptoms that I saw mostly in my son once he started taking antipsychotics and which I believe drove him to take his life. Before schizophrenia, he was highly motivated, passionate, athletic, and had loving relationships with his girlfriend, family and friends.

Many of these symptoms come from the medications they are taking. The psychiatrists make light of these side effects, talk about coping skills similar to what would be given to someone suffering from depression. It’s obvious they don’t understand how isolating and devastating these side effects are to young people. They feel like they are dead. They wish they were dead. 50% of them attempt suicide before 30 years old. The doctors counsel them that many of the side effects diminish over time. I wonder if they actually diminish or if the young people simply learn to tolerate them. I wonder how many of the psychiatrists ask their patients in their medication management meetings how their quality of life is.

These symptoms are not who you are. Yet, it almost impossible not to believe them. Please seek help from doctors who can get you off of the anti-psychotic drugs; these drugs can never give you a life worth living.

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